Sand Sculpting Fest to Pay Tribute to the Military; Same Larger Boardwalk Format to Return

Partnership Board Chair John Hamel and new Executive Director Erin Lynch are readying themselves for the upcoming 11th Revere Beach National Sandsculpting Festival – which will have a much more international lineup this year.

Partnership Board Chair John Hamel and new Executive Director Erin Lynch are readying themselves for the upcoming 11th Revere Beach National Sandsculpting Festival – which will have a much more international lineup this year.

The Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival is only a week away, believe it or not, and this year a new organizer with a familiar face has stepped in to take the festival to a new level.

Erin Lynch of FMP Productions has stepped in to serve as the Revere Beach Partnership’s new executive director and her company will serve to organize the beloved annual event this year.

Lynch is no newbie to the sands of Revere Beach though.

She ran the event from 2005 to 2010 with her former company and helped out with some aspects of it last year.

Partnership Chair John Hamel said Lynch and her team offer flexibility.

“When Amanda Gourgue announced she’d be leaving to organize and search out opportunities that were more exclusively concentrated on environmentalism and conservation, we saw that as an opportunity to effectively transition the Executive Directorship to Erin and her organization as a way to give the Revere Beach Partnership a staff that can scale up or down as we need it. Working with Erin allows us that flexibility and allows our organization to be sustainable and successful.”

Lynch’s company runs several foundations across the area, including the Boston Police Foundation, the Greg Hill Foundation and the McCourt Foundation – to name a few.

She said she was happy to be back after a short time away.

“I am happy to be back at Revere Beach,” she said. “It was great to be back last year and it will be even better to be here on a more permanent basis.”

Also being replaced by FMP is Conventures, the agency out of Boston that has helped fundraise and promote the event for the last couple of years.

Hamel said last year’s festival, which was the 10th Anniversary, was triple the size that it had been and included food trucks, a full musical stage and five more sculptors. That was meant to be a one time thing, he said, to help promote the anniversary.

It seems now that it will be permanent, he said.

“Last year we were forced to spread out by the State Police due to the Boston Marathon Bombing and we also upped the size for the anniversary,” Hamel said. “A lot of that was supposed to be one time things for the 10th Anniversary, but the first meeting we had after last year, the Board all said there was no way we could go backwards. So, all the improvements you saw last year will be back.”

The only change to last year’s larger, boardwalk-style, layout will be a special place near the Bandstand to accommodate local Revere businesses that are not food trucks. This is to help out businesses on the Beach that, last year, were blocked off in large part by a security/medical tent within the new layout – something the Partnership had no control over.

First and foremost, there will be 15 sculptors and the entrants will have a more international feel – prompting the Partnership to consider changing the name to the International Sandsculpting Festival.

Some of the same entrants will be there, but there will be more of a variety from around the world this year, Hamel said. New entrants come from Russia, the Netherlands and Singapore this year.

“The reason why is that when I met the winner last year, Jobi, it was his fourth time in a row winning and I said to him, ‘Who do I need to bring in to beat you?’” he said. “So, we went out and got champions from festivals all over the world. We want to have the top Sandsculpting festival in the world and need to have the best sculptors in the world.”

The 15 master sand sculptors will include:

  • Helena Bangert (Netherlands)
  • Dan Belcher (Missouri)
  • Jonathan ‘Jobi’ Bouchard (Canada)
  • Rusty Croft (California)
  • Dan Doubleday (Key West)
  • Chris Guinto (Key West)
  • Sue McGrew (Washington)
  • Benjamin Probanza (Mexico)
  • Pavel Milinkov (Russia)
  • Walter McDonald (Texas)
  • Guy-Olivier Deveau (Canada)
  • JooHeng Tan (Singapore)
  • Hanneke Supply (Netherlands)
  • Marianne van den Broek (Key West)
  • Abram Waterman (Prince Edward Island)

The expanded field, however, means that some favorites from years past might not return.

“We can’t have everyone back,” Hamel said. “It’s a good blend of folks who want to be at the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival. The new sculptors will bring new energy and creative experience. The bottom line is we’re looking for someone that can give Jobi a run for his money.”

This year’s theme will be a tip of the hat to veterans, titled ‘Stars and Stripes in Sand: A Tribute to Our Nation’s Military.’

“There are going to be a lot of surprises with that,” said Hamel. “We’ll have the centerpiece sculpture and other military tribute activities. We think it will be a great theme.”

Sand will be delivered on July 11, and the centerpiece sculpting will begin on July 12. By Wednesday, July 16, the centerpiece sculpture will be largely done and the master sculptors will begin their own pieces.

The competition will last from July 16 to Saturday, July 19, at 3 p.m.

Two barges of fireworks will go off on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, it will be Celebrate Revere Day, and the Festival’s entertainment will be turned over to Revere Recreation Director Michael Hinojosa.

“They have a lot of plans and are going to provide a great show for Celebrate Revere,” said Hamel.

He and Lynch said the event would not be possible at all without the City’s help, and they were grateful to be able to offer Sunday as the Celebrate Revere day.

In his third year on the board, and his second year running the festival, Hamel said he is glad to see such a great event expand and grow in success on the Beach.

“I grew up in Revere and it is frustrating sometimes with people having not such a great opinion of Revere,” he said. “For those who were born here and raised here, we know it’s a great place to raise a family and grow up. The way I defeated that opinion of the City is with positive points – things such as this Festival. We want to make it self-sustaining and attractive to families and to sponsors.”


 The Revere Beach Partnership announced this week that it will be using all proceeds from the Sand Sculpting Festivals from here on out to fund two unique additions to the Revere Beach seascape.

Hamel said they have spoken with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and have permission to pursue the build out of a one-of-a-kind playground with water features and, perhaps in the future, a completely customized carousel.

“In particular we’ve spoken with them about creating a playground and other things such as a carousel, things we would fund with the proceeds from the Festival,” said Hamel. “We want the playground to have a water element to it. It’s not going to be a couple of swing sets, but rather something iconic and fitting to Revere Beach from a historical perspective and also looking forward to the promising future Revere Beach has. Imagine a playground that has a jungle gym in the form of a huge sandcastle. We’re hoping for a really customized and nice playground.”

In the distant future, he said he hopes that the carousel idea can come to fruition.

“We hope that one day we can open up a carousel for the Beach that is customized like the carousel on the Greenway in Boston,” he said. “We hope someday to create custom elements in the playground and the carousel. We hope both of these things will be new, iconic landmarks for Revere Beach just like the Bandstand is today.”

Hamel said they have kicked off an architectural study to look for a path forward on both ideas.

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